From SOPA, PIPA and OPEN – the Stop Online Piracy Act, Protect IP Act in the Senate and Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act – to the take down of file sharing giant MegaUpload, online piracy is all the buzz right now. As internet protestors made a stand on January 18th to keep the Internet uncensored, we took a minute to reflect on what could happen if any of these legislations did pass. What are the impacts they could have on enterprise social networking, Software as a Service (SaaS)/Cloud companies, and how could it restrain the current growth of international business?
SOPA, which has been dropped for the time being, represents a fundamental change in the way the Internet works today and could undermine all SaaS companies and working in the Enterprise 2.0 space. This poses a great threat to many enterprise social networking providers, such as Socialtext who have shared hosting with their customers. Additionally, if this bill was passed, it could have broken-down the advancements made in international business if other countries followed suit and disabled the ability to provide services globally.
At Socialtext, customers use our technology to interact and share socially across the enterprise, from marketing to customer support, engineering, research and more. We were the first company to deliver enterprise social software and are focused on delivering a SaaS platform that enables social collaboration, allowing employees to share knowledge with their colleagues and teams. In addition to sharing internal knowledge and documents, customers also share information off the web, which can pose a problem if the sites and/or content shared comes from a site deemed infringed. In result, customers (especially those using extranets) would have to self-police themselves or face substantial penalties.
After strong protests and, according to PC World, $4.5 million people signing the Google anti-SOPA and PIPA petition, the bill is currently being assessed and reworked. So, what does the future hold for Internet security? Will OPEN gain more ground than its predecessors, SOPA and PIPA? Only time will tell as SOPA sponsor and Chair of the House Judiciary Committee Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) continues to work on getting an antipiracy legislation passed.